The federal government's reported plan to extend a round of support to Canada's softwood lumber industry amid a festering trade dispute with the United States is getting a frosty reception from a Toronto-based money manager.
"This is the Liberal government again intervening in the market economy," Baskin Wealth Management President David Baskin told BNN in an interview Thursday. "It's sort of the industrial equivalent of No Child Left Behind."
CTV News was first to report on the Liberals' plan to extend a helping hand to the softwood industry. The total package is said to tally $867 million, the vast majority would be in the form of loans and loan guarantees. Natural Resource Minister Jim Carr, Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland and Minister of International Trade François-Philippe Champagne, will make an announcement regarding softwood lumber at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday.
The U.S. Commerce Department slapped the industry with countervailing duties ranging from three to 24 per cent in April. Commerce could announce anti-dumping duties later this month.
Baskin is adamant that the Liberals wouldn't help their cause by providing the industry with an aid package.
"The softwood lumber industry was facing the Canadian dollar at par – and above par – and managed," he said. "They've now had essentially a 25-per-cent price increase as a result of the Canadian dollar being at 74 cents US. You would think that would be enough help."
“This undermines the government’s trade case…I think it’s a huge mistake.”